Why does the wrathful God of the Old Testament change into a kind God in the New Testament?
Why does the wrathful God of the Old Testament change into a kind God in the New Testament? Why does God impose such harsh restrictions on his people in the old days compared to when Jesus was on earth? I was reading the qt today where god made those that doubted him (20 yr old+) walk until they died simply for not believing in him. If it were the New Testament than god would have told them that it was their own choice to believe him or not. So why does it seem like there are two gods? The old wrathful one, and the new accepting one?
The question here is why God changes from Old Testament to New Testament? Yet the answer is to question whether he did at all.
Does God’s wrath abate in the New Testament? Not only does Jesus’ teaching at the sermon on the mount (Matthew 5-7) seem to be harsher than OT law, it cuts to the heart of what the OT law was really about. Additionally, the actions of wrath are still there, seen most clearly in Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5, who are killed for lying about how much money they offered.
On the other hand, was God’s generous kindness absent in the Old Testament? Even in the example above (of the Israelites wandering), this is done AFTER they are saved by Grace from being slaves in Egypt. And in comparison to slavery and a life of war, wandering in the wilderness was in many ways EASIER. They never had to worry about food, shelter, clothing, or competing for riches. They were basically at a retreat for 40 years. They were kept out of the promised land not as a punishment, but because they lacked the trust required to take it. They were therefore given 40 years to build trust in Him.
So we see that God has been, is, and remains both wrathful and kind. Which we need and want Him to be. He must be wrathful because there is injustice and evil in the world. But He must be kind because we are ALL sinners. In fact the cross is the culmination of all of God's wrath and love simultaneously.
What we often misunderstand is the ORDER of these things. God shows us perfection not to shame us into obedience, but to point us to our need for Grace. The 10 plagues. The 12 spies. The Sermon on the Mount. But then, in kindness, He offers us that Grace for free. Exodus and Christ on the Cross. But upon receiving that salvation, we are then called to sanctification, righteous living as we were intended. Taking the promised land, living in church community. Here God’s wrath acts as our guide, steering us away from things which are not His will and towards that which is.
In the Old Testament to New we don’t see a change in the character of God, but an expanding revelation of the same God. Matthew 5:17 Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. Luke 24:27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.